Magic as the Antidote to Anxiety / by Annabeth McNamara

Photo by Brian Wimer at IX Art Park at my masquerade ball.

Photo by Brian Wimer at IX Art Park at my masquerade ball.

I've been noticing my propensity for magic. I'm drawn to stories of its use in media, from Tolkein to Merlin and beyond. Watching it move the fabric of reality tickles an itch for me.

Is it simply a metaphor for how I feel I can reach out with my mind and cause ripples in my reality? When coincidence reigns and dreams come true and things line up far beyond likelihood, it's like God is winking at me, from an eye within the very center of my electric being.

Today I was reminded by my friend Arthur Coriolan's youtube video of a celtic song rendered on harp, of a memory infused with magic. I think what makes my memory of him playing so magical was both setting as well as the music that infused the moment.

I recall the simple pleasure of sitting with his petite mother, chin resting on chins, elbows resting rapt on knees. The golden orbs of notes hung in the cobweb-spun rafters, under which leaves and leaflets of paper layered in a musty-sweet scent.

A tea of fresh rosemary and sage and thyme brewed silently, steam spiraling upward. Dimly lit by the skylights, we let the sunset sift in and settle on our shoulders and the tips of our noses.

There was nowhere to be, nothing to do, and this concert of music was the best entertainment we could dream of.

I recall a similar feeling from just days ago: a moment of yoga on my back porch.

Simply breathing into the surround-sound of sensations, turned a simple, "regular" moment into a sparkling, insular, special figment of time. I turned somehow inside out without anything moving. Or perhaps it was every molecule that flipped and revealed its true nature-- of being All There Is, no nothing is ever being other than this.

Selfie with my higher self. Apparently she's a pixie.

Selfie with my higher self. Apparently she's a pixie.


Perhaps I was having an experience of "Everywhen," what the aboriginals call moments in time that overlap into concentric rings of now-ness.



The degree of this heavenliness was made by the degree of hell I was experiencing just prior. Anxiety was all around me, heavy like a thick chain over my head, rounding my shoulders, caving in my chest and shadowing my heart therein. 

As though swimming with limbs tied to rocks, I wove my arms around waves of emotion to embrace their chill and move against this downward current.

Over and over again returning to my senses, I was able to breach again, to breath deep the oxygen that could free my brain and body from these shackles that none could see, but which brutally tortured me. 

When I surfaced into my True Nature again, it was like a chainmail had been taken from my eyes and I could see the sun, a small star glinting above, reflected in every particle before me. My eyes were registering high-definition after a too-long time of blur. Each of the Thousand Things reached out to caress my nerve endings like feather tip.

For the first time, I became aware of every leaf in the strong sycamores above my head. I almost laughed in astonishment, it was such a staggering multitude.

A glimpse of the canopy in my yard.

A glimpse of the canopy in my yard.

My brain, ever clever, had tuned the excess of information out as "unimportant." I gladly welcomed this unfiltered realization. It was two years since I'd moved in, and it was the first time I was truly seeing the sycamore branches yawning over the back porch.

Perhaps "magic" is anything that brings my senses to the Truth of the Present. I've been taught that the modern definition of magic is a "shift in consciousness." As Albert Einstein coined it, perhaps everything is miracle. 

Is it possible that I'm fabricating the cages of pain, that so often seem to hold me back from thriving, merely in my mind?  

It seems that just by reaching down beneath the muddy waters I've created to touch the soft, sandy belly of the Now, I can re-access the infinite possibilities that stem forward from this moment. 

I suddenly remember that at any given moment, I'm free as a bird to wander to another land, another set of circumstances, or constellation of relationships-- 

To remember that I'm choosing my current life, and to choose again, like renewing a vow-- saying YES to the moment, with all its bittersweet interpretations-- 

In the end, it's just stimuli. I can respond how I'd like, but why not first step into sheer awareness? Just accept what is happening and how I'm feeling firstly. And trust that all good actions will stem from this semi-enlightened awareness.

Hopefully you've been able to take something from my experiences here that could resonate with your own. I wish you luck on your daily magical adventures as we all try, as the band Joseph lyrics urges us, to "stay awake, stay awake."

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Alas, for those wondering, I'm no longer free/single.

Alternately, I've also got a couple of spots available at my music teaching studio on Sundays in Charlottesville, Virginia, as well as Wed-Fri in Staunton, so just contact me if you or someone you know is interested in beginner guitar, beginner to intermediate piano, beginner ukulele, or beginner 5-string-banjo. I also weave in songwriting and vocal technique. You can read more about my offerings at

All my love,